YSAA Superhoops Season Starts

December 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Provincial and Territorial News

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POWERING THROUGH – Vanier Crusaders player Logan Mckay (centre) drives through the Porter Creek Rams defence in first half Superhoops action at Porter Creek Secondary School on Thursday.

Superhoops tips off with a barnburner

The Superhoops season tipped-off with what can only be described as a barnburner.

By John Tonin on December 14, 2018

The Superhoops season tipped-off with what can only be described as a barnburner.

The Porter Creek Rams and the Vanier Crusaders played a back and forth game filled with drama, intrigue and a whole lot of suspense Thursday at Porter Creek Secondary School.

The Crusaders controlled the first half. They got balanced offence from everyone on the floor, to go along with stifling defence, which quieted the home fans that were packed into the bleachers.

Out-hustling the Rams on every possession, the Crusaders continued to build their lead. The zone defence they played snuffed out any chance the Rams had at attacking the rim. The Crusaders picked off every pass attempt by the Rams and ran it down the court to get easy buckets.

When the Crusaders were set up in their half-court offence they were able to penetrate the paint for easy looks at the basket or make the kick out pass when the defence collapsed to find open shooters. When the Crusaders missed, they cleaned up the glass for easy second-chance opportunities.

As the quarter ticked closer and closer to halftime, the Crusaders looked like they were taking part in a layup line, getting baskets at will, they took at 40-17 lead into halftime.

Rams coach Paul MacDonald had a very direct message for his team during the break.

“My message was, in this league it’s so short, and there are only two (other) teams. Graduating players, you only get to play in front of your class today; play with pride,” said MacDonald. “Go out there, forget about the offence that will come, put on a body on the defender and just start talking with each other. Play with pride, just pride, that was my message.”

Message heard. The Rams came out a different team in the second half. To start the third quarter, Kiiwaadin Swan scored six quick points, and then the Rams got two big threes from Broden Cull and Tanner Ulrich to start the quarter on a 12-0 run.

The Crusaders, who in the first half, were all over the loose balls and making hustle plays were no longer making them and the Rams took advantage.

Throughout the third, the Rams continued to get the looks they wanted at the basket, and unlike the first two quarters, the shots started to drop. MacDonald said the offence was bound to come around, but it was time to lock in on defence.

“Offence is what it is, but defence is what wins in this league,” said MacDonald.

“There are some really talented shooters on both teams and luckily Vanier couldn’t get their offence going in the second half, but I think it was because we were swarming them so much and forcing them late into the shot clock.”

The Crusaders were only able to score five points in the third, but they still entered the fourth quarter up 45-40.

The fourth quarter was action- packed. The Rams tied the game with 6:22 remaining on a three-ball from Kenny Hyatt, but the Crusaders were able to answer right back from behind the arc on an Andrew Smyth make.

The game turned into an absolute firefight, the lead kept changing as each team continued to trade buckets. The Rams pulled ahead on a basket plus the foul by player of the game Aiman Salim.

Vanier went on a run of their own and built a small four-point advantage before the Rams answered right back.

Down two with under two minutes on the clock, the Rams got a big three pointer from Grayson Turner. Salim followed that up with a steal in the half court, and raced towards the basket, dropping the ball through the cylinder to give the Rams a three-point lead with under a minute remaining.

“I was so happy,” said Salim about his basket. “I was like ‘yeah let’s go, let’s do this,’ just real pumped up.”

The lead was short-lived. On the next play for the Crusaders, Chad Williams caught the ball and with ice in his veins let a three-pointer fly that dropped, hitting nothing but the mesh to tie the game at 59 apiece with 17 seconds remaining.

The Rams immediately called a timeout to draw up a play. The ball was inbounded to Turner who dribbled the ball up the court as his teammates spread to the perimeter. A driving lane opened up and Turner took the ball straight to the basket for the go-ahead layup, as the crowd exploded.

There were 10 seconds left on the clock for the Crusaders to answer. After they returned to the court after a timeout, they were unable to run their play and they turned the ball over, game Rams.

MacDonald said after the game it was a top to bottom effort from his guys. From the players on the court to the ones on the bench they all played their part, and he was proud of their effort.

Crusaders down Rams in girl’s Superhoops action

The Rams got off to a quick start in front of their home crowd in the first quarter of their Superhoops season opener.

The Rams’ offence worked through Landyn Blisner, who got six early points for her team.

After their slow start to the game, the Crusaders were able to get out in transition for some hoops under the basket.

They were also able to clean up the glass and get easy put-back buckets, led by player of the game, Nicole Farkas.

The teams traded baskets the rest of the first, and the Rams took a 20-18 lead going into the second.

The back-and-forth play continued into the second quarter. Each team was able to put up points using a balanced offence. The Rams took a slight one-point advantage into halftime 32-31.

The game began to lean the Crusaders way in the third quarter. The Crusaders ramped up their defensive pressure, applying a full court press on the Rams. The turnovers followed and the Crusaders were able to get out on the fast break for uncontested layups.

Crusaders’ coach Jane Londero said the increase in defensive intensity was the difference between the first and the second half.

“We came out a little rusty. We played this team in the Jamie Shaw tournament and we came out stronger,” said Londero. “Our defence is getting better and our press is getting better.”

The Crusaders took a 48-40 lead into the fourth quarter.

In the final frame, the Crusaders grew their lead to 12 early in the quarter. Londero said the team’s confidence began to grow after seeing the positive results their defence was generating.

“They seemed more confident in it,” said Londero. “Our passes got better because at the beginning of the game we were making desperation passes just flinging it. Especially in the fourth quarter they picked it up and scored a lot of baskets.”

The Crusaders made a point of working the ball to the low post. The shots that were not dropping for them in the first half began to find the bottom of the basket, and they built their lead to 62-47 midway through the fourth quarter.

Londero said she was pleased with how her team finished the game.

“The game progressed and they got better,” said Londero. “And I said to them I would rather see it go that way than start off strong and then teeter out.”

The Crusaders continued their strong play down the stretch, but the Rams had no quit in them and they fought to the final buzzer, but the lead the Crusaders built was too much to overcome. The Crusaders won the game 75-52.

Londero said she saw a lot of positives from the team that they can carry with them through the season.

The next Superhoops action is tonight at Porter Creek Secondary School.

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